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15 Marvel Actors We Want to Return For Secret Wars

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a state of flux, fans are holding out hope that it can return to its former glory. Phase 5 is notably missing a traditional Avengers outing, meaning all eyes are on 2026’s Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and 2027’s Avengers: Secret Wars to reassemble Earth’s mightiest heroes. The Jonathan Major-led Secret Wars is set to loosely adapt the 2015 comic book arc of the same name, which opens the door to a who’s who of returning faces.

In Secret Wars, various incursions caused reality to be torn apart and stitched together as Battleworld. This patchwork of universes brought together a who’s who of famous Marvel faces, leading to hopes that Secret Wars will do the same to bring back some spandex-clad stars from yesteryear.

Much like how Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ Earth-838 gave us Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier from the Fox X-Men movies, there are wild theories that anyone (and everyone) could suit up again. Although returnees like Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool don’t make the speculative cut because Deadpool 3 neatly sets them up for this multiversal madness, here are 15 Marvel actors we’d love to see return for Secret Wars

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Wesley Snipes

As the MCU embraces its darker side, we know Mahershala Ali is stepping out from the shadows as Blade. The day-walking vamp is a fan-favourite from the comics, but just imagine if Wesley Snipes got to sink his teeth into Secret Wars

It’s easy to forget that Blade helped buck the trend of comic book movies before X-Men made them mainstream, with Snipes leading a trilogy of movies in the ‘90s and ‘00s. To this day, Blade’s blood rave opening remains one of the most iconic pieces of superhero cinema. 

While the dismal Blade: Trinity drove a stake through Snipes’ time as Eric Cross, a 2022 interview with ComicBook.com suggests he’d be willing to don the shades once again for an MCU cameo. 

Tobey Maguire

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For those of us who’re of a certain age, Tobey Maguire will always be Spider-Man. Not that Andrew Garfield didn’t turn out a beloved performance in The Amazing Spider-Man movies and Spider-Man: No Way Home, but in terms of pure nostalgia, Maguire returning for Secret Wars makes the most sense.

As Sony flushed Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 down the plug hole, there’s a sense that Maguire’s tenure was cut short. Following his return in No Way Home, Maguire has discussed the idea of another MCU reprieve, telling Marvel that if it were a movie, reading a scene or doing “a Spider-Man thing,” his answer would be yes, adding, “Because why wouldn’t I want to do that?” 

We don’t imagine Maguire and Raimi are going to suit up for Spider-Man 4 anytime soon, but in some Multiversal realm, maybe our wall-crawling hero got to fight John Malkovich’s Vulture like he was originally supposed to.

Dougray Scott

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An obscure superhero movie factoid could pay off in Secret Wars, fulfilling Dougray Scott’s lost legacy of playing Wolverine. Similar to how we theorized Tom Cruise would be playing Iron Man in Multiverse of Madness, casting Scott in Secret Wars can restore this trivia. 

Back when X-Men was limbering up, Scott had been cast to play the adamantium-clawed Canadian. Unfortunately, an extended filming schedule on Mission: Impossible 2 forced him to drop out, being replaced by Jackman. 

It was arguably the wrong move, with M:I 2 being largely held as the worst in the series. Still, if it weren’t for Scott dropping out as Logan, we wouldn’t have gotten Jackman’s genre-defining performance, and who knows whether the superhero movie boom would have taken off like it did? If not for Jackman playing Wolverine, would we even have the MCU we have today? 

Something to ponder, anyway.

John Krasinski

Proving that sometimes fan castings can become a reality, John Krasinski’s not-so-surprising appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was a stroke of genius. While plot leaks spoiled the cameo ahead of time, it didn’t stop us from whooping. 

Krasinski has come a long way from his days on The Office, but alongside Emily Blunt as his wife, has become a Hollywood A-lister. Matt Shakman’s Fantastic Four movie is just over the horizon, and while Krasinski himself has downplayed the idea of being Earth-616’s Mister Fantastic, that doesn’t mean he can’t return for Secret Wars.

The latest rumors suggest that Marvel has been feeding fake casting news to throw us off the scent. Even though Multiverse of Madness’ Reed Richard was shredded like courgetti, the potential of the Multiverse means no one is ever really gone. 

Famke Janssen

If there’s one X-Man actor that deserves to spread their wings again, it’s Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey. It’s fair to say Janssen’s portrayal of the flame-haired hero eclipsed Sophie Turner’s version. Better yet, Patrick Stewart’s return has already set the stage for an X-Men reprieve.

With Jackman seen sporting his classic yellow suit in the set of Deadpool 3, we could finally see Janssen squeeze into Jean’s comic-accurate costume. The star had previously downplayed the notion of playing Jean again, but in a 2023 interview with CinemaBlend, teased, “It has given me the most amazing opportunities over time. So, who knows? Is that chapter done?”

The problem is, bringing back Janssen is in danger of retconning the happy ending from Days of Future Past. If Janssen is coming back, just please leave “The Dark Phoenix Saga” alone. 

Nicolas Cage

Someone who could bring his signature style to the MCU is Nicolas Cage. It’s fair to say neither of the Ghost Rider movies did particularly well critically or financially, but with Cage a star back on the rise he’d be a major coup for the MCU.

Ghost Rider has already appeared as a minor character via Gabriel Luna’s Robbie Reyes, but given how an uncredited Blaze appeared in a single Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D episode the MCU could straight-up cast Cage as its next Ghost Rider. 

As for Cage, his Secret Wars return is one of the most unrealistic on the list. When speaking to Variety about the world’s highest-grossing franchise, Cage explained how his stage name is taken from Marvel’s Luke Cage but candidly said, “I don’t need to be in the MCU, I’m Nic Cage.”

Krysten Ritter

We’ve already had Charlie Cox don his Daredevil costume in the MCU, and after years of confusion, at least we know Netflix’s Marvel shows are considered canon. While we doubt many are calling for an Iron Fist revival, Krysten Ritter was perfectly cast as Jessica Jones. 

Since Netflix pulled the plug on its Marvel shows and Disney bought the rights to the Defenders, we’ve been patiently waiting to see who makes the leap to the MCU. The idea of Rytter’s return is one that continues to do the rounds for everything from a Daredevil: Born Again cameo to a full-blown Jessica Jones revival.

Ritter has long been hopeful of playing Jessica Jones again, telling Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast, “Marvel is so secretive – I am just putting that out there that, of course, I would be there in a second. I would have my boots and jacket ready to rock.”

Robert Downey Jr. 

If you’re going to bring back Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark anywhere, it has to be Secret Wars. It’s true that his “I love you 3,000” goodbye is a near-perfect farewell, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t cheer if we heard just one more of his smart-ass quips.

Downey Jr. Has repeatedly downplayed the chance of stepping into the red and gold armor again, telling The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, “There would have to be a super compelling argument and a series of events that made it obvious.” 

If a Multiversal war isn’t a compelling argument, we don’t know what is. Whether it be for a flashback, jaunt into the Multiverse, or (unlikely) full-time character return, we just don’t see Downey Jr. or Kevin Feige missing out on this one. 

Dafne Keen

Spare a thought for those who had their superhero tenure cut short. While we’re not sure there are many weeping over the loss of the James Franco-led Multiple Man movie, a continuation of X-23’s story could’ve been a real hit.

As the breakout of James Mangold’s Logan, Dafne Keen looked set to play Laura, aka X-23, in her own movie. There was plenty lost in the shuffle when Disney bought the rights to the X-Men from 20th Century Fox. The MCU has taken a different route with mutants like Kamala Khan and Namor, and with an X-Men reset seemingly on the horizon, Keen’s X-23 is likely being shown the door. 

We know that Logan wasn’t the Jackman swansong it was originally pitched to be, meaning it would be easy to slip X-23 back in as his ‘daughter.’ Going against the idea, though, is that we’ve been promised Deadpool 3 won’t screw with the Logan timeline, suggesting X-23 will be left in the Logan film’s gritty reality.

Ian McKellen

It’s a testament to the early X-Men movies that the return of Patrick Stewart largely overshadowed most of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Even if we’re heading for a hard reset of Charles Xavier’s Gifted Youngsters in the MCU, we could still squeeze in one last hurrah…again.

As the ying to Stewart’s yang, Ian McKellen’s portrayal of Magneto is equally beloved. Putting the star’s Shakespearean chops to the test, Magneto remains one of the most complex comic book movie villains. We last saw McKellen suit up for Days of Future Past, which is more than enough of a gap.

McKellen and Stewart are BFFs in real life, so it makes sense they’ve been chatting about one more rodeo. In an interview with ET Online, Stewart hyped McKellen’s return, saying, “We’re not done, Sir Ian and myself. We’re… we got plans.”

Scarlett Johansson 

Another of the big three that’s seemingly waved goodbye to the MCU is Scarlett Johansson. Having been a largely lone female presence of Phase 1, Natasha Romanoff was soon promoted to side character until her tragic sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame.

Although Johansson led the long-mooted Black Widow standalone, the movie’s place in the timeline and a public falling out between the star and Disney means it doesn’t look like she’ll be leading another anytime soon. 

Despite Johansson seeming settling her beef with the House of Mouse over Black Widow’s distribution, she told Variety how she feels “really good” about Nat’s end. Even though she concluded there’s a lot of “dignity in her [Black Widow’s] legacy,” we’d be surprised if ScarJo doesn’t appear in Secret Wars

Eric Bana 

The recasting of Edward Norton’s Bruce Banner as Mark Ruffalo remains one of the MCU’s defining points, and while it would be easy to champion Norton’s return, why not head a little further back?

Before the MCU, Ang Lee brought Hulk to life with 2003’s movie of the same name. Eric Bana played the Emerald Giant, and with it becoming one of the highest-grossing movies of the year, many assumed it would expand into a franchise. 

It was a case of bad timing, as Universal failed to hit its filming schedule for a Hulk sequel, before Marvel Studios reacquired the rights to the character in 2006. Apparently, it ain’t easy being green, because in a 2023 interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Bana reiterated he has no plans to Hulk-out again. 

Chris Evans 

Bear with us on this one. While Chris Evans picking up his star-spangled shield as Captain America is an obvious choice, what if we left Old Man Rogers with his happy ending and brought Evans back in a different capacity?

Like we’ve brought back Maguire and Stewart, Secret Wars could dive even deeper into the madness or the Multiverse with Evans reprising his role as Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, from Fox’s Fantastic Four movies.

2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer stopped a threequel in its tracks, leaving us with 2015’s abysmal Fant4stic. No offense to Michael B. Jordan, but we doubt any are calling for him to play the Human Torch again. Evans has even championed the idea in an MTV News interview, saying, “That would actually be an easier sell to me than coming back as Cap.” 

Channing Tatum 

If he’s playing his cards right, Channing Tatum could finally fulfill his legacy of playing Gambit. The fan-favourite member of the X-Men kept many of us entertained during the X-Men: The Animated Series, but sadly, his live-action legacy hasn’t been the same. 

James Bamford’s Gambit cameo was cut from X2, the character was nixed from an early draft of X-Men: The Last Stand, and who really remembers Taylor Kitsch playing him in X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Tatum was supposed to appear as Gambit in X-Men: Apocalypse before leading a Gambit standalone, but as the years went on, it never materialised. Unreliable IMDb cast listings claim Tatum will appear as Gambit in Deadpool 3, and if we’re lucky, he could stop by again in Secret Wars

Elizabeth Olsen

When it comes to rewriting reality, few have the talents of Wanda Maximoff. Elizabeth Olsen made her MCU debut in a Captain America: The Winter Soldier mid-credit scene but wasted no time cementing herself as one of the franchise’s leading ladies.

Alongside roles in the likes of Avengers: Endgame, she led the acclaimed WandaVision alongside Paul Bettany and broke bad for Multiverse of Madness. Olsen only scratched the surface of her Scarlet Witch legacy, and despite our Wanda apparently being crushed under Mt. Wundagore, the fact we saw her Earth-838 counterpart should be enough to sketch her in for a return.

Despite the potential of a part in the upcoming Vision Quest series, Kang might not be quaking in his boots just yet. Olsen most recently told Variety’s Actors on Actors on how she doesn’t miss the role, reiterating, “I think the reason why l am not calling Kevin Feige everyday with ideas is because I’m really proud of what we were able to do.”


About the Author:

Based in Manchester, UK, Tom Chapman has over seven years’ experience covering everything from dragons to Demogorgons. Starting out with a stint at Movie Pilot in Berlin, Tom has since branched out to indulge his love of all things Star Wars and the MCU at Digital Spy, Den of Geek, IGN, Yahoo! and more. These days, you’ll find Tom channelling his inner Gale Weathers and ranting about how HBO did us dirty with Game of Thrones Season Eight.


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